Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I've Vuittoned, have you?

(Wrote this 4-5 years ago and don't know why I didn't ever publish)

Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. - Alexander Pope

When passing a Louis Vuitton showroom the average Joe might stop, shrug and move on. I, my dear reader, ain't no average Joe. So towards the entrance I walked with a sense of purpose.

Not that I had any intention of buying anything at that moment. It was, how shall I say this, the same reason some people climb mountains because it was a sort of a challenge, a test if I can call it that. Something a man measures himself against, in my case I just wanted to know if I could actually afford something in there.

Vain you think? Guilty as charged.  If there wasn't any vanity in this world, everyone would be driving dinky little Japanese electric cars and wearing Chinese watches.

So there I was, wearing my banker's best, a blue shirt and the company tie. (A Banker's attire thankfully doesn't involve a jacket here in India. Eets Mucho Hawt, see?), walking towards the Louis Vuitton. As I got close I saw this tall dapper gentleman, with the demeanour of royalty standing near the door of the store. When I reached the door, much to my chagrin the dapper gentleman quickly snapped to attention and opened the door for me. Apparently, he was the doorman.

It was at that moment that I knew I was way out of my depth.

The store was very brightly lit, and the lights were more than a little disorienting, I had never been to a large store that had so little items on display. A well dressed young store assistant walked over to me, smiling pleasantly yet giving me the once-over. I smiled back I think, I swear could feel, what had been hitherto a tiny, coffee stain on my tie beat heavily against my chest. It felt like some neon lights had magically surrounding it.

I blathered something which was intended to convey that I was just looking around.  

"Very Well Sir" he said with in an accent-less English. More to get some oxygen into the bloodstream rather than to just look around I walked around slowly, with my hands clasped behind me, he was never more than a couple of feet away. After a few minutes it became a little embarrassing, I had to engage him in a dialogue over some product or the other. The silence was thick. As my eyes searched for something to talk about it fell on the wallet counter. I breathed a sigh of relief. I could talk about wallets. What the heck, how expensive could they be!

I made my way over to the wallet counter and peered inside the glass counter with interest. As if judging my interest, the assistant walked around the counter and pulled a few wallets out. They were nothing special, just regular wallets with the Louis Vuitton symbol all over them as I riffled through them I couldn't find a price tag I wasn't perturbed because I knew that I wasn't going to buy one in anycase, I told him that those wallets weren't quite my style (they were hard..I preferred softer leather, I didn't realise till that moment!).

He looked inside his counter and was very apologetic, there wasn't a soft leather wallet inside. I nodded in the usual way a shopper nods conveying to the assistant that if there was a soft leather wallet then there was scope for some business.

As I was turning an odd thought struck me, I needed to know what these wallets were priced at. So, nonchalantly as I could, I asked him "Oh by the way, how much are these wallets?", to which he queried which one I was asking. I picked a rather cheap plasticky looking thing which I wouldn't be caught dead with and gave it to him. He then looked through his catelog and told me. Rs. 25,000!

My head reeled. A wallet that costs 25 grand? Thoughts ran helter-skelter in my head. What would happen if I had this wallet and I got mugged? Would I beg the mugger to leave the wallet and take all the money? Coz I don't think I'd ever carry as much money as the price of the wallet inside it.

I needed to get out of there, the air around me suddenly seemed to have lost all oxygen in it and I tried not to gasp. I weaved my way across to the counter opposite. There were a few gold trinkets. I picked one and said, nice earrings. "Er...Sir, they are cellphone handles" he said. Clearly I was at my wits end, I needed air..badly.

I nodded weakly and started walking towards the door, it seemed atleast 2 kilometers away.

With great difficulty, I reached the door and it slid open, the ever present doorman at work. As I walked past him, I swear I felt his moustache quiver.